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The Scottish referendum of 1997 was a pre-legislative referendum held in Scotland, over whether there was support for the creation of a parliament for Scotland and whether there was support for a parliament with tax varying powers. The referendum was a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party and was held in their first term after the United Kingdom general election, 1997. This was the second referendum held in Scotland over the question of devolution, the first being the Scotland referendum, 1979.

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Party support

The Labour Party, Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, and Scottish Green Party campaigned for the acceptance of both proposals . The Conservative & Unionist Party was the only major party to officially oppose both the proposals. Curiously, though, Labour MP Tam Dalyell opposed the creation of a Scottish Parliament but in favour of giving such a Parliament the power to raise and lower taxes on the basis that, although he opposed the Parliament as proposed by his party, if it did exist it should have tax varying powers. [1]

Results

The referendum was held on 11 September 1997. The result was 'Yes-Yes', i.e. the majority voted in favour of both proposals.

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Question 1

For the first question, the electorate were asked to indicate whether:

1. I agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament; or

2. I do not agree that there should be a Scottish Parliament

1.Agree: 1,775,045 (74.3%) 2.Disagree: 614,400 (25.7%)
Turnout Total votes cast
60.4% 2,645,308

A majority voted in favour in every Scottish local authority area.

Question 2

For the second question, the electorate were asked to indicate whether:

1. I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers; or

2. I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers

1.Agree: 1,512,889 (63.5%) 2.Disagree: 870,263 (36.5%)
Turnout Total votes cast
60.4% 2,645,308

A majority voted in favour in every Scottish local authority area, with the exceptions of Dumfries & Galloway and Orkney.

Government response

In response to the majority voting for both proposals, the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Scotland Act 1998, creating the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive.

See also


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